Who is the New Orleans Pelicans best pure shooter?

CJ McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

In February, we had a post seeking to examine the best 3-point shooter on the New Orleans Pelicans roster. There, we used Cerebro Sports’ 3-Point Efficiency (3PE) metric to help guide our analysis.

However, that isn’t the only way to measure a player’s shooting ability. So, this time, we decided to tackle the subject from a different angle. Here, we will be comparing players’ 3-point percentages on wide-open 3-point attempts.

By doing this, we remove some noise from the equation. Obviously, tracking data isn’t perfect. But when you look at shots tracked as “wide-open,” you are generally talking about similar types of looks across the board in terms of difficulty.

Doing this is better than just measuring raw 3-point percentage because it accounts for the fact that star players (being that they draw great a deal of attention and take more self-generated shots) take harder threes than role players.

So, by only focusing on wide-open threes, we are evening the odds to an extent. That’s why this post is titled “best pure shooter.” Well, that and the fact that we didn’t want to have multiple posts with the same title!

Anyway, for this exercise, we will be looking at 3-year data to give us a larger sample size. If a player hasn’t played three seasons yet (for instance, Trey Murphy III has only played two), then we will only include data for the number of years we have available. Also, all the data we use in this post can be found on thinkingbasketball.net.

Now, without further ado, here are the rankings for Pelicans’ players based on 3-year wide-open 3-point percentage:

Pelicans 3-Year Wide-Open 3-Point Percentage (Percentile listed in parentheses)

1. CJ McCollum – 45% (91st percentile)

2. Brandon Ingram – 44% (86th percentile)

3. Trey Murphy III – 41% (67th percentile)

4. Josh Richardson – 41% (67th percentile)

5. Jonas Valanciunas – 37% (37th percentile)

6. Dyson Daniels – 36% (29th percentile)

7. Larry Nance Jr. – 35% (23rd percentile)

8. Jose Alvarado – 34% (18th percentile)

9. Zion Williamson – 34% (18th percentile)

10. Herbert Jones – 33% (16th percentile)

11. Naji Marshall – 31% (12th percentile)

Man, the Pelicans’ shooting deficiencies this past season really start to make sense when you look at it this way. Only four players on their roster are above league-average in wide-open 3-point percentage over the last three years. And their fifth-best shooter in this category is Jonas Valanciunas – a player who didn’t hit a single three for the first five seasons of his career.

In other news, it appears that CJ McCollum – the team leader in 3PE – also leads the way in this category. But this time, instead of being fourth, Brandon Ingram is in second place (that’s likely because this removes all the difficult shots his role as a primary offensive player forces him into).

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